Match Report Burnham-on-Sea2XV 34 – Castle Cary 5

Burnham seconds opened  their league account  of the  New Year with  an away game at Castle Cary on Sat 14 Jan. Hopes and moral were high in the expectation of this game  as was  echoed in the  dressing room banter before the dynamic match  build up. Burnham had expected to dust away the festive Cobwebs during a friendly the week before which unfortunately was cancelled. The team skipper Matt Slater was not fazed as he had an impressive array of talent at hisdisposal; all were seasoned veterans of this season’s campaign which had successfully taken the side to the top of the league table. After an energetic build up the side took to the fieldto enablethe officialto start the game. The  day was good  for  rugby the  ground was not;  it  was  heavy  going; and  the  pitch  was  narrow this   did not  suit  Burnham’s  style of  play; never the  less the game commenced.


It was clear that Castle Cary  were not out  to  provide unopposed opposition this  was apparentfrom the  outsetas the game settled  down to a grind based  around  the  mid field. The play was not helped by Burnham’s lack of cohesion in the backs to put together attacking moves. In the pack good  possession was  being  given  away by  the  forwards due to  a lack of  the  basic  maul  and ruck  skills. The Burnham side were showing enterprise but alltoo often it was breaking down due to errors on their part. It was in the fifteen minute that from good pressure from the  backs  and  forwards  that  Burnham were awarded a penalty  which  was taken by Mike Whitfield which  eventually opened  the  score. This action was a wakeup  call; as both  sides were stung  into an flurry of  action with play  flowing on both  sides Burnham’s Mike  Whitfield in possession of  good ball  from  the  pack  and  a flood of  hands  in the  backs crossed  the  line  for the  first try. Converted  by  Mike  who  was  to successfully add another  try  to his  tally  with  a  further  two conversions before the  day was  out. This did not satisfy the skipper who was disappointed with the standards of play exhibited and called for a late rally prior to half time. This  call was answered when  Mark O Reagan connected  with  Ben  Bowkett on the  wing who  off loaded almost  perfectly  enabling Mark  to  finish  the  move in style in the  corner.

The half time back  brief was delivered with quite punchy fervour it  was  needed; Burnham was  not  in command of  this game and it was  apparent that  they  should  be. Substitutions were identified  and  the game commenced this  game  still  had  to be  won; as it  was, the oppositionshad  it  to  win if  they could  rally. Nevertheless Burnham pulled on all the experience and set about the task in hand. The attrition was beginning  to tell on the  home  side  who  were tiring noticeably and injuries  were mounting up it  was  at this time when  Will Conway received good ball  and  broke out  to  score  a splendid individual try. Replacements were brought to bear in the form of Mike Smith, Sam Ford, and Andy Blairwho immediately added pace to the attack. It was from a period where Burnham has successfully dominated three set piece scrummages that Sam Ford was unleashedto crossthe line to openhis account.

Cary retaliated with a late surge that was rewarded with a try; unconverted. This activity  was intertwined with  some  very  good passages of defence and  attack by the  Burnham Forwards worthy of  mention was  one  such burst  by Chris  Jones that  should  have  been  rewarded  with  a   try. As the game moved into  the  final stages Burnham were beginning to  cohesively gel this was indeed encouraging in contrast  to  the  start of  the  afternoon. With the final whistle sounded it was left to the debrief to expose the short falls.
This was not  a good performance from the  rugby point it does not  however detract from the  effort and  commitment put in by  the  Burnham players, very  good  performances were given by Ben Bowket; Alex Bowket; Matt Slater; Mike Whitfied; Will  Conway; Ryan Jones; Chris  Jones and Lee Berry, every player had contributed to  the win on the  day.

It was not an attractive win but it was a win nevertheless. Well done. Next week is a friendly a chance to iron out the creases from this game Training for the seconds Thursday pm.

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